High School life can be frustrating to some.
You don’t need to pay all of your own bills yet, you have most of your friends under the same roof for a majority of the day, and you may even learn something along the way.
Despite the possibilities, many people don’t thrive in high school.
Instead, they thrive in college or as an adult.
You may wonder if it will ever get better.
You can rest assured that life gets significantly better after high school in the following ten ways.
1. Better Food
Even good cafeteria food is still cafeteria food.
It also doesn’t get more appetizing over four years of the same options in front of you.
If you bring your own lunch, teenagers are usually just learning how to cook, drastically limiting the possibilities.
Plus, who has time to make lunch after gossiping with friends and doing homework?
When you leave high school, lunch prospects open up extensively.
Instead of choosing from the stands in the cafeteria, you can get in your car and visit any restaurant you want.
You get to pick where you go to lunch and exactly how much you want to spend.
You will also have had the opportunity to enhance your culinary skills over the years so that you can make more than a peanut butter sandwich and a bag of chips.
Furthermore, you have the ability to try new things and really develop your personal palate preferences and learn what you like the most within your budget.
Best of all, you don’t have to eat during a specified lunch hour.
Even workplaces with a designated lunch hour usually allow you to eat at your desk when you want.
2. Better Music
Whatever your favorite bands are at the moment, you can find relief knowing that your tastes will evolve for the better.
You may still sing the words to your favorite songs from high school a decade or two later and dwell in the nostalgia every now and then, but you will go back to the better, everyday playlist.
As you embark on your musical journey, you can meet people who share similar tastes and introduce you to even more artists that encourage you to express yourself better and possibly even dabble in your own creations.
3. Better Pay
One of the worst parts of being in high school is not having much of your own money.
If you do work, the small checks from your babysitting gigs or part-time job don’t last long after trips to the mall and movies.
You may need to rely on your parents for monetary support, making you feel controlled and poor.
After you get your high school diploma, you can make more money.
You will also have more time to work.
Many college students find full-time work that takes place around their classes.
Other people get to work immediately out of college.
You will feel much more independent and freer, but you will also have the responsibilities of managing adult finances, such as rent and student loans.
Start saving young, even if it means eating Ramen noodles and Vienna sausages most nights.
You will feel grateful when you get to go on vacation and buy reliable transportation.
4. Better Relationships
In high school, it seems like relationships with your friends matter more than anything.
While important, you will quickly learn that familial relationships matter the most.
Without your parents around every day, you will need to try to spend time with your family and learn how to communicate with them effectively.
You will also have to do the same with your friends, which can get difficult as people spread out around the country to go to different colleges or jobs.
You may need to choose who you can stay close with and who you prefer to keep as casual acquaintances.
While maintaining relationships becomes more difficult as an adult, the relationships become much more meaningful and sincere since you had to put in the effort.
Adulthood gets hectic, and you may forget to reach out to people as often as you thought you would.
When this happens, simply end the cycle as soon as you notice it with a phone call, whether you have anything to say or not.
Ideally, you want to call parents, grandparents, siblings, and best friends once a week.
At the very least, keep people up to date on your life using social media and group texts.
You may not have realized how special these relationships are while in high school, but you will feel grateful you spent the time to develop those relationships later in life.
5. Better Desks/Chairs
No one realistically expects high schools to have large mahogany desks with high-end swivel chairs.
However, do they have to go out of their way to make the desks and chairs so uncomfortable?
You have much more space with a desk at the office, and you get the chance to personalize your space, making it feel homier.
Accommodations at your workplace or home office can be far more comfortable and even contribute to good posture and back health.
You also have more opportunities to get up and stretch your legs when you want without a teacher giving you a mean look.
Some people even opt to sit on a giant balance ball or create a standing desk.
Another group of people works standing up as a server or mechanic.
These people get constant exercise and no longer need to feel cooped up at a desk all day.
6. Better Mental Health
Teenagers have raging hormones, and they need to control these hormones while also navigating the transition to adulthood and independence.
Unfortunately, the changes and the immense pressure can lead to crippling anxiety.
It doesn’t help that as we get older, we learn some of the negative aspects of adult life, such as unrequited love and career hurdles, which can get quite depressing.
Many teens attempt to express that things don’t feel right only to have their mental problems dismissed as teen angst or rebellion.
Most high schools have resources to help students who suffer from mental health problems.
However, students don’t have a lot of autonomy over their treatment.
In many cases, students only have one therapist to talk to, whether they feel comfortable with that person or not.
Tragically, many adolescent therapists quickly prescribe medication to help manage symptoms but not the condition itself.
In many cases, it feels like a way to keep children subdued to make things easier on the adults instead of trying to resolve the problem.
In high school, most students don’t have a great grasp of mental health.
They may not know they need help.
If they do recognize they need help, they may feel too embarrassed to get it.
Students may eventually turn to risky behavior as a distraction or self-medicate to numb the pain.
When fully mature, you will have more options when it comes to therapists, and you can find natural treatment if you prefer that instead of medication.
You will also have a stronger grasp on your personal mental health and what coping mechanisms work for you.
You already went through the confusion and trial and error many young adults go through when first seeking help for their neurosis.
7. Better Gym
Every person should focus on their physical health starting from a young age to develop good habits.
Children without access to a gym and children without health-conscious parents can learn about nutrition and physical health in gym class.
Sometimes, gym classes can include fun activities, such as dancing and team sports.
However, inevitably, everyone needs to run the mile and climb the rope.
Students in gym class don’t have the ability to swap out one activity for another, and it can be horribly embarrassing to perform physical activity in front of the class, especially for those kids who are less athletically inclined.
When you finally leave high school, you won’t need to exercise according to a prearranged schedule.
You can create your own schedule and work out however you enjoy working out.
Most high school gym facilities aren’t exactly state of the art, either.
When you sign up for a gym after high school, you will have access to high-end equipment and a wide range of classes.
You can also pick a personal trainer for yourself instead of being limited to one gym teacher.
Some people prefer not to exercise in a high school gymnasium or crowded local gym.
Instead, they prefer to exercise outside by hiking, biking, and swimming in gorgeous locations.
Instead of focusing on the exercise, which can come with a negative connotation in your brain, you can focus on exploring the planet and connecting with nature.
You will naturally burn calories and build strength and flexibility along the way.
Plus, being in nature has been known to make people feel happier and achieve peace.
Bring friends and family along from time to time to make memories together.
You can also find groups online to connect you with people in your area.
8. Better Educational Opportunities
Mark Twain once said, “I will not let school interfere with my education.”
Yes, you attend class in high school.
However, you learn a lot as an adult that high school teachers simply can’t prepare you for from a textbook.
You will also get to focus on the things you want to learn instead of a wide range of things.
Teens who want to become mechanics will get the opportunity to work on cars more often, learning as they go.
They don’t have to waste time in an art history class they have no interest in or that has any educational value toward their career goals.
For people who do aspire to advance in academia, you can choose the institution you attend, ideally choosing a school with a good reputation in your particular industry.
9. Better Recognition
Most teens don’t feel heard by parents, teachers, and other authority figures.
The truth is that most adolescents don’t have adequate life experience or personal distance from an issue to make productive suggestions.
When you become an adult, you learn that these people may still not give you the consideration you’d like.
You also learn that you may feel the same at work and in other adult situations.
You will also learn that you can take action to earn respect from people, making them more willing to hear you out.
It starts small by presenting yourself in a respectful manner and developing relationships with the people around you, especially at work.
Don’t be afraid to speak up confidently (always in a respectful manner) so that you don’t get lost in the crowd.
As you do good work and make yourself known, people will trust that you have the necessary knowledge to provide valuable input.
You can use these same tactics to ensure you feel heard at home, too.
If you still live at home, you may think you deserve a later curfew now that you don’t have to go to school in the morning.
To get your parents to hear you, you need to demonstrate responsible behavior, approach them in a confident yet respectful manner, provide as much evidence to support what you want as possible, be willing to compromise, and accept any result.
You can’t win them all.
There’s also still plenty of time to gain credibility and try again later.
Eventually, you will establish yourself enough to move out on your own.
At this point, you only have yourself to answer to.
You always get to acknowledge your wants and have a say, even when you need to take other people into consideration.
With this freedom comes heavy responsibility.
You may choose to drink beer on a Tuesday, but you may pay for it if you get in trouble at work the next morning.
Instead of thinking of it as not having any rules, you should establish your own rules.
Some rules to consider applying yourself include:
- No drinking on weekdays
- Limiting food budget to $100 a week
- Turn off all lights/electronics at 2:00 a.m.
- Walk—don’t drive—to destinations one mile away and closer
Make your own rules and adjust as necessary.
Rules are made to be broken.
Manage expectations to avoid setting yourself up for failure.
10. Better Opportunities
In high school, you only have so many opportunities in front of you thanks to your young age and minimal experience.
As you get older, you will have more opportunities than you know what to do with.
You can apply for student loans, work menial jobs, and earn your degree.
Alternatively, you can find a career right out of high school and focus on learning your trade.
If you have the opportunity, you may want to travel the world for a year or teach English in a foreign location.
You may also decide to focus on art, volunteer work, sports, or video games in your spare time.
The opportunities can feel overwhelming at this point.
You want options, but how can you possibly know what to do when you can literally do anything?
Start by following your passion.
If nothing strikes you as a passion, go with your instinct.
It’s okay to try different things to see what you like.
When you find yourself thriving on a particular path, continue down that path.
Many students go to college thinking they will major in art but get poor grades in art class and great grades in psychology.
Many decide to go with what they seem to have a natural affinity for instead of what they originally thought.
That’s absolutely fine, but you want to make these decisions as early as possible to avoid spending money on unnecessary classes.
Whatever road you choose, make a decision and stick with it.
More and more opportunities will come your way the more experience you get.
Take advantage of opportunities that appeal to you and work hard.
Don’t forget to call your parents.
If you can do that, life will almost certainly improve after high school.
However, it’s still okay to hang on to your favorite high school band tee shirt for old times’ sake.